August 26th, 2009

zelda bar


I was sitting in a taqueria with Matt a few weeks ago, and he asked me, "So, was your vacation long enough?"

"No, I would have rather extended it much longer, to like a year, so I could bring La with me and we could travel all the way around the world."

"Bah", he said. "That long? You'd want to be a tourist for that long?"

"What's wrong with being a tourist?"

"Tourism doesn't DO anything. Tourists don't make anything, don't change anything. They barely even learn anything."

"Oh come on, Matt. You think the measure of people is how productive they are. Not everyone measures the world the way you do."

"Maybe so. But I don't think pure tourism would appeal to you. If I know you, you'd be spending all your time on that bike coming up with new ideas and writing things down and calling people up, and you'd be building the ultimate bike rig as you go, et cetera. You couldn't be unproductive if you tried."

"Perhaps. But I wouldn't be measuring it that way. I would just enjoy being challenged by the geography, and seeing how people actually are, all over the world. I might go entire weeks without producing much of anything except poop and tire tracks."

"Wouldn't you get bored? Wouldn't you want to stop moving and actually make something at some point?"

"You know, I probably would. That's what I learned from this vacation. I thought I would be content to just keep riding the whole time, but at the end of three weeks, I really wanted to get back to work, and back to the resources and excitement of the city."

"Hah, see, I knew it. You missed being productive."

"Sure, but I also missed some totally self-indulgent things, like food from a real kitchen, and movies, and a big comfy bed. Those were big factors. You could say I was trading less comfort for more comfort, and that's totally self-indulgent."

"So would you rather just stay at home and not work?"

"Well, no."

"See, that's my point."

"Fine. But my point is, there's more to life than being a productive citizen."
(While I'm talking, Matt's head turns 100 degrees away from me, slowly, following the cleavage of a girl walking into the taqueria.)

"Hey man," he says, "I am many things, but one of the things I am definitely not is subtle."